Fahie Juror Phoned Defense Attorney After Trial.

Former BVI Premier Andrew Fahie, recently convicted in a trial in Miami over drugs smuggling charges.
- Advertisement -

The Miami Herald has reported that the day after 12 Miami federal jurors found former British Virgin Islands premier Andrew Alturo Fahie guilty of taking part in a  cocaine-smuggling conspiracy, one of the jurors phoned for the former politician’s defense attorney, according to a newly filed court document.

“He told me who he was and I said I remembered him,” attorney Joyce Delgado wrote in an email, pointing out that she was returning the juror’s calls left at her law office.

“He then blurted out that he wanted to know what was happening with the case because he’s worried that if all the jurors are asked to return that they will ‘never come to an agreement’ so he wants to know what the process is,” Delgado wrote in the email, summarizing the exchange to another defense attorney in the drug-trafficking case.

Delgado said she didn’t know and told the juror that it was “inappropriate” for them to talk and hung up.

That conversation — along with two prior phone-call attempts and a voicemail message from the same juror — is part of a growing body of evidence in the post-verdict controversy over the Miami federal jury’s decision to convict the ex-BVI premier, Andrew Fahie.

Last Thursday, Feb. 8, he was found guilty of a conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States and three related money laundering and racketeering counts. The cocaine conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years up to life in prison.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams, who presided over the trial, must now decide how to resolve the unusually uncommon post-verdict problem — one that has possibly never occurred in the Southern District of Florida. After a court hearing on Monday, Williams is expected to call both sides into her courtroom after asking them to provide guidance.

Fahie’s defense attorneys urged the judge to bring the one juror and another panelist who also expressed misgivings back into the courtroom so each of them can be polled again about their original verdicts.

Prosecutors countered that Fahie’s guilty verdicts should stand because the 12 jurors were polled and discharged, with no mistakes made on the verdict form. They also said there was no apparent evidence, including the voicemail message left by one of the jurors, suggesting external or internal pressure was put on them while they deliberated Fahie’s fate.

Minutes after the verdicts were published and jurors discharged last Thursday evening, the two panelists contacted the judge’s staff. In short, both said “the verdicts as published had not, in fact, been their verdicts,” according to a court filing by Fahie’s lawyers, Delgado and Theresa Van Vliet.

The filing said Williams discussed the startling revelations with both sides, and then brought both jurors — one male, the other female — into the courtroom, letting them know that she would be opening an inquiry and would be contacting them.

What next?

In the filing, Fahie’s defense lawyers said at the very least the judge should ask the two jurors in question about their verdicts on the four charges against the ex-BVI premier.

“The defense does not suggest some free-wheeling exchange with Jurors B and C,” the defense lawyers wrote, referring respectively the unnamed female and male panelists. “Rather, the defense proposes that the issue, a decidedly delicate one, should be inquired of individually and in stages.

“In essence, Jurors B and C should be re-polled as to whether the verdicts as published are their verdicts.”

Prosecutors Kevin Gerarde and Sean McLaughlin sharply disagreed with that approach to the problem, saying that Fahie has not been denied his constitutional right to a fair trial.

“No one disputes that Fahie had a Sixth Amendment right to be convicted by the jury,” they wrote in a court filing. “The question here is whether the unanimous jury did so, which remains conclusively established by the court’s instructions, the verdict form, and individual juror polls.”

The 12 Miami federal jurors deliberated for only four hours before reaching their guilty verdicts on the four drug-related charges against the former British Virgin Islands premier.

Fahie was arrested in April 2022 in Miami following a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation. He was free on a bond and living with his daughter before trial, but after his conviction at trial he was ordered held at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami. His sentencing is set for April 29 before Judge Williams.

The U.S. government made its cocaine-smuggling case against the former British Virgin Island’s premier by casting a confidential informant as the Mexican cartel trafficker. The informant, who went by the name “Roberto,” collected hundreds of recorded conversations and text messages with BVI premier Andrew Fahie while they discussed million-dollar bribery payments for access to the British territory, prosecutors said.

Fahie agreed to let thousands of kilos of cocaine pass through his ports to be sold in the United States because of his “greed, arrogance and corruption,” prosecutors added, claiming Fahie needed the bribery payments to build a waterfront mansion in the British Virgin Islands.

Fahie’s defense team argued that he had no intention of using his power to enrich himself on cocaine shipments to the United States. Rather, his lawyers argued that he was “framed” by the United Kingdom, which controls the BVI archipelago as an overseas territory.

Nonetheless, the trial evidence revealed that the sting operation was directed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, not the British government. At the time of the DEA sting, the U.K. government was concluding a corruption investigation of Fahie’s administration — but British authorities noted it was not related to the DEA’s sting.

Source: Miami Herald.
- Advertisement -